Say you're running out for a dinner with friends, but you realize you're out of dog food?
You don't have the time to run to the pet store and still make the reservation. What are your options?
Why not post that task to the web and get someone else to do it for you?
Welcome to TaskRabbit.
It's an online service that matches people with chores to do and others who are willing to do them for the right price. It's been running in six cities and it's on its way to Seattle early next year.
TaskRabbit Director of Marketing Jamie Viggiano said the concept is simple. You have a task? Just post it to the site.
"They fill out the form, and they actually name the price they are willing to pay to get that done," she said. "The TaskRabbits bid on that particular job. So they look at the job, they look at the details and say 'I'm willing to do this for y-amount.'"
In my opening hypothetical, the deal gets done, and you can make your dinner reservation.
But say you want to get some housework done. You're basically inviting a stranger into your home. That's a little scary. And that's where TaskRabbit differs from some other similar services or sites. It puts its TaskRabbits through a four-stage vetting process. An application, video interview, a complete federal and state background check and then a test.
"We really pride ourselves on building that safety into the network," Viggiano said. "So whenever anybody posts a task and invites somebody into their home, for example, they can feel safe about it."
And there's a review and rating service, so if the TaskRabbit does a bad job or doesn't complete the chore, the poster can let everyone know about it.
"Both parties do a virtual handshake and say 'yes the task was completed to my satisfaction,' and then they close the task. Then they get to rate and review the person that they worked with."
Viggiano said a lot of the current TaskRabbits are stay-at-home moms or retirees. There are a lot of college students too. Anyone can do this as long as they pass the security check.
So you might be wondering how much money a TaskRabbit can make. It really depends on how hard you want to work. Most TaskRabbits perform a lot of small tasks for small amounts of money, but it adds up quickly. The top TaskRabbit has cleared $5,000 in a month.
The top tasks people want done for them include assembling furniture, doing laundry, and house-cleaning. But one growing task is paying someone to prank co-workers.